Thursday, 28 January 2016

FriendlyARM Nano Pi2 review

I received two NanoPi2 samples from FriendlyARM somewhere around the first week of January. It took more than month to reach India from China using China Post. 

I was very excited about this as you would already know that I am developing a baremetal OS for the older mini2440. I had been informed that the mini2440 is out of production and in its place the newer and much smaller NanoPI with the S3C2451 chip is made available.

Just a few details about the NanoPi, it is a ARM9 S3C2451 chip running at 400Mhz with 64MB of DDR2. It has the usual interfaces as present in the S3C2440 based Mini2440 board.

Now coming to the NanoPi2 what is really impressive is the size of this thing. It has a size of 75mmx40mm. It is lesser than the size of a credit card approaching the size of a USB dongle.  FriendlyARM has done a real good job in making a board with such a small form factor.

The NanoPi2 comes packed with Samsung S5P 4418 Quad Core Cortex-A9 at 1.4G Hz with 1GB 32bit DDR3 RAM. As you would know for my baremetal programming I am mainly interested in the processor and RAM. Once I get this beast up, rest of the things follow much faster. There are two micro SD Slots, a USB 2.0 Host Type A, a micro USB for data input and power. It has 40 pin GPIO good enough for plenty of debugging.

It has pins for camera and LCD connections and HDMI output.

From the connectivity side it has Wifi and Bluetooth support with BLE4.0.

There is support for Linux (Debian Jessie) and Android (4.4.2) Kitkat.

 Now for the unboxing and setup. The NanoPi2 comes in a neat card board case. It looks like a wallet and is beautiful.

Side view of the beautiful card board case

Size comparison of the NanoPi2 with my meal pass card. It is really impressive.

The NanoPi2 connected to the PSU and RS232 board which is provided separately.

Finally I got this  cute NanoPi2 case to put into. I am not sure whether it is 3D printed but it sure looks like it. It looks like a cute soap box.

Debian Jessie running out of the box with the HDMI output connected to my monitor. You can also find my dear MINI2440 board photo bombing at the right side :)

This is a really neat evaluation board for Robotics, IoT with its Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity. Considering how small it is I think it also goes well with controlling of drones.
This is also a really good board for the maker community.

I am really excited in developing for this board especially to try to see if I can get my baremetal OS running on it.

Special thanks to Friendly ARM for gifting two samples of this board and kudos to them for making boards with such impressive form factor and functionality.

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra

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